How often do you go to a braai, a friend’s house, or a rugby match and have a few beers? Then get into your car and drive home because, well, you are ‘just around the corner’? I have been there, something that one should probably not admit being a motoring journalist, but for the last few years I have done my utmost to never under any circumstance get behind the wheel when I have had even more than one glass of wine.
It’s not easy having a good time in South Africa! My partner and I attended a friend’s birthday party in Camps Bay on Saturday night. We knew we would be having drinks, so we decided to take my partner’s car, leave it there and fetch it in the morning. After far too many cocktails and an obscene amount of tequila, we decided it was time to call it a night.
We walked outside the venue and I proceeded to call Rikki’s cabs. I have always assumed they were the cheapest when travelling to places further away. We stay in Mouille Point and an average taxi fare to get us to Camps Bay can cost anything between R100 and R200 … depending on whether the driver turns on the meter or not. (By the way, the R200 incident was after far too much alcohol and we only realised the next day just how badly we had been ripped off). So a Rikki’s cab is always the best option as it can cost you about R85 if you get a “direct” cab (meaning you don’t share with anyone and no one is picked up along the way).
However, we were told that we’d have to wait an hour for a Rikki’s cab. I am not sure how many of you will agree, but believe me … when I am ready to go home … I want to go home right away! Waiting an hour was just out of the question. So we called on a few of the taxis parked outside the venue and were quoted everything from R80 to R150. So we got into the one that quoted us R80. We soon realised the reason behind the cheap fare, my door had no handle, there were no seat belts, the smell of the car was worse than sitting behind a garbage truck and the speed at which we were travelling meant that whatever we were trying to keep in our stomachs might try to make a hasty exit. It was one hell of a ride! I understand that the driver probably wanted to get back to the venue as quickly as he could, because there were many people in need of transport, but the trip was arguably no more dangerous than it would have been for me to drive us home. Nevertheless we got home in one piece.
That was not the first time I encountered a reckless taxi driver and I can guarantee it won’t be the last. I also know that we will have to turn down party invitations in future, because it gets too expensive for us to go anywhere. Before we have even had a drink, let alone dinner, we need to fork out about R160. When is our government going to realise that if it wants to enforce strict rules pertaining to driving while under the influence of alcohol, it needs to provide a vialble alternative form of transport for its people.
What do you guys think? Is there sufficient, safe and reasonable transport out there for when you are going to be having a few drinks? From my experience, there is none. At this point I might become a hermit … at least I will have money to keep me company while I am sitting alone at home.